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Mayawati wants to be projected as Third Front PM; CPI declines
Published on 14 Mar. 2009 1:13 AM IST
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On March 15, Mayawati’s dinner table will serve as a battleground for deciding who will be the prime ministerial candidate of the newly-formed Third Front. With a very small list to choose from, chances are, it will turn out to be a happy dinner. With Chandrababu Naidu and H D Deve Gowda already having withdrawn from the race, the ball is clearly in Bahujan Samajwadi Party supremo Mayawati’s court. So Mayawati has clearly conveyed her prime ministerial ambitions to the Third Front leaders and also set a deadline for it. She is hosting a party for the Third Front members on BSP founder Kanshi Ram’s birthday on March 15; and wants the PM candidate issue finalised by then. At present, the Third Front comprises CPM, CPI, RSP, Forward Bloc, TDP, TRS, JD(S) and Bhajan Lal’s Haryana Janahit Party, was formally launched on Thursday. On Thursday, Mayawati gave the Third Front launch rally a miss and sent her representative instead. Her representative at the rally at Tumkur near Bangalore and party general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra, said “It is the aim of the BSP to make Mayawati prime minister.” Given this backdrop, the March 15 meeting assumes significance as the leadership issue will almost certainly be discussed although the Third Front has so far taken the line that the prime ministerial question would be addressed only after the Lok Sabha elections are over and results declared. Sources in the JD(S), however, said the dinner meeting could discuss the modalities of the proposed ‘National Policy Document’ of the Front. CPI says ‘No’ Amid BSP’s keenness to project Mayawati as a prime ministerial candidate, CPI today said the Third Front would not name any leader for the top post in the run-up to the elections. “The Third Front will not project anyone as its Prime Ministerial candidate during electioneering,” CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan told reporters here, a day after the Left and some regional parties joined hands to cobble up a third front as an alternative to combines led by Congress and BJP. He said the question of Prime Minister would be taken into consideration only after the elections. Bardhan’s remark assumes significance as it came a day after Mayawati’s senior representative S C Mishra said at the Third Front rally in Tumkur district in Karnataka that BSP’s objective was to make her the prime minister. “It is the aim of BSP to make Mayawati PM,” he had said. On BJD’s participation in the Third Front, the CPI stalwart said he would meet BJD supremo and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discuss the matter with him. CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury had met Patnaik on March 8 in a bid to persuade him to join the Third Front, while JD-S leader H D Deve Gowda and Chandrababu Naidu of TDP had also spoken to the BJD supremo on the subject. While leaders of the eight-party alliance were keen to see BJD on their platform after it snapped ties with BJP, the regional outfit, led by Patnaik, refrained from participating in the rally. in Karnataka, keeping open its post-poll option. “The BJD will not participate in any front before the elections though it will enter into seat-sharing arrangement with some parties, including the Left,” said party MP Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, considered the main strategist of BJD. BJD, which agreed on seat-sharing with Left parties, NCP and JMM, wants to take a decision on its participation in the Third Front only after the elections, sources said.

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